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Map data goes live with voice, gesture-based computer system

Emergency management teams, faced with an approaching hurricane, can access GIS map data through voice and gestures for real-time decision making on issues ranging from protecting hazardous materials sites to evacuating assisted-living facilities by using a computer system developed by Penn State researchers.

The research team says the system also can assist planners and transportation engineers visualize the impacts of potential developments and highways as well as help crisis management personnel respond more quickly to other disasters.

"Our technology is dialogue and gesture-based, and is designed so that people can work together at a large map," said Alan MacEachren, professor of geography and principal investigator on the project. "It makes Geographic Information System (GIS) tools easier to use you don't have to rely on technology experts and it's responsive, so there's no time delay."

The Dialogue-Assisted Visual Environment for Geoinformation (DAVE_G) debuted Friday (Nov. 8) at the Association for Computing Machinery's 10th International Symposium on Advancements in Geographical Information Systems in McLean, Va.

In response to verbal and gesture commands, DAVE_G can zoom into a particular area and show specific data such as the locations of cemeteries, hospitals and highways. In its first generation, the technology also can indicate flood areas and emergency shelters.

While DAVE_G currently relies on text to respond or ask for more information if queries aren't clear, eventually it will talk to its questioners. Subsequent generations also will provide a broader range of geospatial information, MacEachren said.

The three-year research effort, funded by the National Science Foundation, has just begun its second year.

Co-investigators for the project are Rajeev Sharma, associate professor of computer science and engineering, and Guoray Cai, assistant professor in the School of Information Sciences and Technology.


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Contact: Margaret Hopkins
mah242@psu.edu
814-865-7888
Penn State
8-Nov-2002


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